Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Recap from a volunteer. (long)

What a night!!!!

Hubby and I dropped off the kids with the in-laws and his aunt at about 9 am. We then drove to the ESPN Wide World Of Sports to pick up our credentials. After we picked our stuff up we wandered around the Expo. We bought a few small things. A girlie 5k sticker for me to add to my 0.0 and this cool belt less pouch called RooSport

 We then met some of hubby's friends in Clermont to eat lunch and hang out for a few hours. At about 5pm we decided to start heading back to Disney.  Pit stop at Walgreens to pick up some cheap ponchos as we knew it would probably rain. Boy was that a great idea!!

We followed a app hubby had for directions that had us turning off on to a side road rather than the main way due to traffic. Uhhh You can see where this is going right?  Pitch black driving down creepy rural roads is not where I wanted to be at that time. Once we finally got to civilization the damn thing let us to the Disney bus terminal. Ummm crap!  We then tried to figure out where the heck we were on Disney property to find the parking lot we were supposed to be in. It's dark and I am night blind driving on roads I don't know so you can imagine my stress level. It was getting closer to 7pm and we still didn't know where we were. I got flashed by a bus which at the time was hysterical.  We finally guessed the right way and followed the line of cars to park. We then realized that we were not where we were supposed to be. We talked to the parking people and they told us where to go. Thankfully we found the right lot at the Magic Kingdom and started our night.

We went to the volunteer tent where our badges were checked in. Then we picked out what size jacket we wanted. Then we went to the snack line. We were all handed a ziplock and told to take 5 items and a bottle of water. Many items to choose from which was great. After that we we boarded a bus to be taken to the finish area which is where our team was stationed. Turns out the team was on the same bus we discovered from texting.

We arrived and made our way to the finish area. We goggled at the finish line for a minute then jumped into our assigned tasks.

 Our group was placed in the heat sheets area. If you are unfamiliar with them they are the plastic blankets that you see runner with after races. They help you retain body heat. There were 3 stations for the sheets- Right, Center, and Left.  As soon as the racers crossed the finish line they walked by a few medical people who watched for various warning signs and then us. They could get a blanket from either side or the center as they walked past. After that they got their medal and then pictures and snackies.

Center station just starting.

We all started ripping off the sheets and folding them and placing them in the rows of the portable fences. We did that for well over an hour. Those dang things are a pain in the butt to rip. They were perforated but the design on the sheet of a blue running mickey silhouette made it hard to find the spots to rip.  Right about the start of the race the rain started.  I was ever so grateful that I thought ahead enough to grab ponchos. After a few thousand sheets were ripped and prepped we all took a small break. We got word that the race had officially started but we knew we had about an hour to kill. We just stood around talking to each other and the team leader who was actually also a volunteer not an employee like I originally thought. After all of the 12 waves started and the starting line festivities were over the DJ came to the finish line and set up shop. He was updating us and the small crowd the times of the lead man and woman.
Left side fully stocked.
They came around and told us to give the sheets out if the runners wanted them but not to volunteer them.  Did I mention that it was in the 50's and raining??  Did I also mention that we ripped a few thousand. Did I also mention that there were 14K registered runners?  Yeah.  About that....

The rain started coming down a bit harder as the first finishers crossed the finish line. I was starting to get very wet under my poncho but I excited and ready for the masses so I was able to ignore that.   DJ was playing music and we were moving around keeping warm-ish. More runners started finishing. I was a little sad that for the first 20 or so there wasn't much of anything. So If you were there I was the one yelling "WHOO" for each. After that they started saying the people's names at least. Just about everyone that crossed the line wanted a heat sheet. I was on the left side, the first person out of four. The only female on that side as well. The runners started coming in faster and we got to hopping with giving out the sheets. The way we stocked most of them I was able to stick my whole arm down the row and pull out many. Then I would retake my place at the front and hand off to runners that looked my way as they were walking up. A few I could see were making a beeline straight for me so I met them. We tried to tell everyone great job or congrats or the like. I totally lost track of time and there were so many finishers I couldn't even see the start line. It didn't help that I could barely see out of my glasses from the rain.  Then I noticed that we were flying through the pre-ripped sheets. So I jumped on a roll and started furiously ripping them. I was still stepping out and handing them here and there though. Then I saw the fences were so bare it was like MAYDAY MAYDAY in my head so I just stood at the roll and ripped through a roll. We of course ran out of sheets stocked. It got to the point that I was ripping and handing them straight to the volunteer behind me to hand out (which was my husband) That silly hard to find the rip spot made an appearance many times along with me growling. Hubby made a comment that we were providing entertainment for the crowd and runners.  LOL  I was to busy ripping to even look around to see what he meant. I knew my arms were going to be killing me the next day.

 A volunteer official walked by and told us that we were at the half way point.!!!!!!!  I just tried to turn into an automated ripping machine as best I could. Runners were coming by in droves at that point. Rip, hand, Rip, hand was my internal motto. People were backing up waiting for a sheet at certain points. Then I would run into that can't find the seam to rip and panic. A few runners reached out and ripped their own because they could see the perforations I couldn't at that point. I just ripped and handed over and over. I was so wet water was running down my arms but I knew we had to get those blankets out. These runners just ran 13.1 miles in the cold rain and they needed them stat!  Once the runners finally started to thin I was able to slow down some and watch people cross the finish line again.  I missed seeing majority of the runners since my back was to them from me ripping. I saw many, many costumes from the people I did catch. I didn't have time to admire them though. There was a really cool Ursula I would have loved to look at more. Tentacles and everything!

Right side after the balloon ladies
Center after the balloon ladies.

I finally remembered to snap some pictures.  Of course that was after the balloon ladies so at that point the race was pretty much over.  To run any Disney event you have to keep yourself at a pace of 16 minutes per mile or faster. The balloon ladies (who are volunteers) are basically your visual cue that you need to stay ahead of them to avoid being swept. From my understanding if you don't stay ahead of them then at certain points they literally close off the path and sweep you onto a bus that will take you to the finish area. Now that said people were still finishing for a good 10 minutes after them. We just figured that at a certain point they don't or cannot sweep anymore.
Left side after the balloon ladies. Red hat dude is my husband. 

Once the last finisher was done all the volunteers just dropped everything and walked away. My husband and I were basically left. LOL  Were so so confused because we figured we would have to help break everything down to but I guess the employees do that. We made our way to the bus. We were cold, very wet, and miserable but still in good spirits. Then we had to wait for another bus since the first two were full already. Sitting down on the bus was such a fantastic feeling after working our butts off. Some people knew the driver it seems and he was quite the comedian. We were at the front of the bus so we got to hear him.

After we got back to the parking lot we went through volunteer check out. Our badges were scanned again and then we got in line to get our free tickets. We were given little card things at packet pick up to trade in for the tickets after our volunteer shift. I pulled the letters out of our clear bag that they provided for our use and they were soaked. I gave up trying to open them and just ripped each one to get to the card inside. We each got our ticket (which we earned haha) and walked out to our cars in the rain (it never stopped!!) Once we got in the car I refused to drive until the heater was blowing hot air.  Haha.  THEN we got lost leaving Disney.  Hahahaha  We finally figured out how to get where we wanted to be thanks to googlemaps on my phone. I wasn't about to trust his after the almost disaster getting there. We stopped at Denny's to grab a bite before the long drive home and were shivering. I was practically hugging my plate of breakfast to try and warm up. I had spare clothes but was to cold to even try and change.

VERY LONG drive home. VERY, VERY, LONG!  Did I say very long yet? I was so wet and tired and hubby was sound asleep next to me. @@  When we finally got home at 6:30am we walked in the door, went to the bedroom, and stripped and pretty much fell in bed. I really didn't give a damn how dirty we were. Sheets and blankets wash after all. I woke up 3 hours later ACHING like I had the flu. Full body aches. I took some pain killer and went back to bed. Hubby got up at noon to let the kids in the house as the in-laws dropped them off after church. Thankfully they are old enough to be independent because he came back to bed for a few more hours.  I didn't get up till 6:30pm. 12 hours of sleep and I was still exhausted!!  LOL  But I loved it and would do it again in a heart beat.  I guess that make me crazy.  My husband's nickname is The Crazy Runner after all.  :)

I happened to look the next day to see that the Walt Disney Marathon Weekend in January still needs volunteers.....  

I tried to sign up but I am on the waitlist. Hubby and his buds are all running in it so I thought it would be awesome if I could volunteer during it. I did meet the volunteer director at the race and I tired to email her already to see how long the waitlist is. I wonder if she will even remember me though with all the people she sees everyday.


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